Diaz-Balart: ‘Boehner’s Never Told Me’ Immigration Overhaul Is ‘Dead’

Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., will no longer seek to advance his draft immigration bill (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., will no longer seek to advance his draft immigration bill (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted June 30, 2014 at 4:47pm

Did Speaker John A. Boehner really tell President Barack Obama that the House wouldn’t vote on an immigration overhaul bill this year? Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart intimated on Monday afternoon that he doubts Boehner would have, with such finality, closed the door to moving forward on such legislation, as Obama suggested in a national address.  

“Boehner’s never told me that it’s dead,” Diaz-Balart said in a phone interview with CQ Roll Call. “What Boehner’s been telling me is what he’s always been telling me, that clearly the American people don’t trust Obama to enforce the law.” In a statement following the president’s announcement, Boehner stopped well short of calling the president a liar, but did not explicitly confirm that he has killed the issue this year.  

Diaz-Balart could be in a position to know where Boehner stands on the issue: He has been working for months to secure the votes for a comprehensive immigration bill designed to attract wide support from House Republicans and enough Democrats to deem it bipartisan and ensure a lifeline in the Senate.  

Despite Obama’s announcement Monday that he will take executive action on immigration without Congress, Diaz-Balart said he plans to continue working on immigration legislation in the House in the weeks left before the August recess.  

“The majority of the Republican conference wants to move forward,” he said. “We still have a shot.”